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Windows Defender Offline: For PCs too hosed to go online

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Microsoft has released a beta version of its Windows Defender antivirus tool that works even when computers are so badly infected that they are unable to fully access the internet.

The program allows users to boot their sick machines from a CD, DVD or USB flash drive and use the most up-to-date definitions to fight the infections. It's of particular use for removing certain types of malware that make it hard or impossible to access security and antivirus sites. Computer crooks often try to prevent victims from cleaning up their PCs by preventing them from accessing those sites. Other times, Windows gets so corrupted that network connectivity no longer works.

"Windows Defender Offline Beta can help remove such hard to find malicious and potentially unwanted programs using definitions that recognize threats," Microsoft said in announcing the beta.

In the past, severely infected machines had to be disinfected using UBCD for Windows or a similar boot disk. As useful as these disks are, creating the image and keeping it updated with the latest malware definitions could be tedious and time-consuming.

Windows Defender Offline Beta walks users through the steps required to set up the boot disk. The program requires 250 MB of free space on a USB drive. ®

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